Universal healthcare, an issue the White House and Congress have largely abandoned since the early 1990s, has reemerged as an issue on Capitol Hill and around the country, with lawmakers looking to Massachusetts’ landmark plan as a political and structural model for the nation’s 46 million uninsured.
…[W]ith Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, an architect of the state’s plan, mulling a presidential run in 2008, healthcare is likely to be a big topic in both the GOP and Democratic presidential primaries, party officials say. The attention the Massachusetts plan is getting in individual states, especially Iowa, the site of the nation’s first presidential caucuses, is also pushing the healthcare issue to the forefront.
So begins a Boston Globe story on the interest Massachusetts’ universal health care plan has drawn across the country. The Globe is right to say that healthcare will be a major issue in presidential politics–it always is. Already Barack Obama floated the idea of single-payer healthcare on his recent trip to New Hampshire. We can expect the same from John Edwards when he formally declares his candidacy, and when it comes to a certain senator from New York, well, we haven’t forgotten HillaryCare.
Governor Romney’s plan offers something different. Something Republicans can support, rather than simply oppose.
(Read about the plan. Or watch Governor Romney explain it himself.)
Iowa seems particularly intrigued by the plan. “Because Massachusetts took the initiative and said everyone is going to be insured, it is now the model that other states are going to follow and should follow,” Iowa state Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat, told the Globe. (Ahh, I love the smell of federalism in the morning.) Hatch went on to stay that Iowans will not “just going to be asking [presidential candidates] how [they] feel” about the plan, but “going to be asking how you can help Iowa and other states do it.”
Hmm. What better person to show Iowans how to implement a new healthcare plan than the man behind the original, Governor Romney. The healthcare plan will be just one part of the governor’s problem solving platform, but it’s a big one.